Gathering demonstrates religion is an even bigger force for peace

A cultural performance at the Youth PoWR gathering of young delegates from various religions, organised by the Columban Mission Institute. Source: Columban Mission Institute

A high-energy gathering of more than 200 young people took place in Strathfield recently at the annual Youth PoWR (Parliament of the World’s Religions).

Youth PoWR is a multi-faith initiative of the Columban Mission Institute’s Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations.

It aims to bring together youth from diverse religions and ethnic backgrounds, including from Aboriginal, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Sikh backgrounds.

Youth PowR participants pictured after a cultural performance. Source: Columban Mission Institute

Fr Patrick McInerney SSC, Director of the Columban Mission Institute, said that Youth PoWR 2017 had been a great success.

“There was a very positive atmosphere throughout,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

“If the respect, listening and engagement shown at Youth PoWR 2017 is anything to go by, the future is in safe hands.”

Buddhist, Sikh and Muslim representatives help out at the Youth PoWR conference. Source: Columban Mission Institute

Dr McInerney believes in the importance of events such as these to promote better understanding of different points of view in the workplace and society, especially for young people.

“Youth PoWR is important because it provides a platform for young people from different faiths to meet, discuss, and get to know one another.

“There are interfaith programs for school students. There are interfaith events that adults attend. But there is no interfaith event for youth, as such. Yes, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples have youth programs for their own community members. But Youth PoWR brings young people together from different religions.”

Youth PoWR is an event that prides itself on being for young people by young people. The co-ordinators of the event, as well as the speakers and entertainers are aged 17-35 and hail from all across Sydney.

Participants discussed a range of issues, with ‘Racism and Discrimination’ and ‘Climate Change and the Environment’ emerging as the issues delegates considered to be most important.

This year’s theme was ‘Light in Dark Times’, and the participants gathered to formulate practical responses that they could take with them from the event.

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